The Gift of Unlocking Human Potential
“I will be forever grateful for my Devereux team who continued to believe in me even when I did not believe in myself, and continued to help me along my journey of recovery and self-discovery .”
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health has been a blessing in my life. I don’t even want to begin to try to picture what my life would look like now, had they not intervened and provided such amazing support through my journey.
Prior to Devereux, I had been through many therapists, hospitalizations, and treatment centers, without much success. By the time I was nineteen I had already been displaced from my home several times, once even ending up in a homeless shelter. At nineteen years old, I was close to giving up – I didn’t see myself as having a future- and then I was referred to Devereux.
People say your high school years should be some of the best times of your life, but mine were some of the worst. I spent most of my time throughout high school in either the nurse’s or guidance counselor’s offices to avoid my classes and interactions with people. I had socially withdrawn from a lot of my friends, because I felt like I couldn’t relate to them anymore. They were all talking about applying to colleges, and I was spending my time in and out of treatment programs. My parents and teachers tried their best to understand, but my problems were rooted deeper than they knew or were able to see.
Devereux believes in treating the whole person and their wellness program helped me to improve my nutrition, time management skills, and build up my confidence. When I first started at Devereux, I was in the dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) program, but I really struggled through my first round. DBT is a six-month community-based program at Devereux that teaches individuals how to live in the moment, cope with stress in a healthy manner, manage their emotions, and improve relationships with others. I desperately needed all of those skills and the Devereux staff worked hard to try to help me attain them. DBT was different than other methods of treatment I had tried, because you are held accountable for your actions. However, you have to want to get better and be willing to acknowledge that your current way of life is not working, and I was not ready to take this step yet.
My first DBT therapist told me that DBT was like Harry Potter. The client is Harry Potter, the DBT skills are the wand, the therapists are the professors, and the magic is the skills. The therapist could teach me how to utilize my wand to make the magic happen, but they could not pick up the wand and do it for me. These words really made an impact on me and they still stick with me today.
After struggling for five months through the DBT program, I made choices that were not in my best interest, and I discontinued the program. Soon I began to recognize that I wanted to get better and was more capable than I thought. Thankfully, Devereux never gave up on me; my incredible Devereux team welcomed me back with open arms. This time was different because I was finally ready to have someone hold me accountable for my actions, and I truly wanted to get better. I wanted to be a part of the program for me, and not just because other people were telling me that it would help.
For several years I studied animal science at tech school, while also volunteering at Main Line Animal Rescue, Aardvark Veterinary Hospital, and Springton Manor Farm. Through my experiences I recognized my love of helping vulnerable populations – animals and children. I received my Animal Care Assistance and Infectious Diseases certifications. I decided to continue my education by pursuing my bachelors degree in social work from West Chester University. I hope to one day pursue work in the foster care system.
Because of Devereux, I am a completely different person than I was when I started this journey. I have been recognized for my accomplishments - I was so proud to receive the Devereux Williams Family Achievement Award, which is given annually to honor a young person from the Devereux programs who has exhibited extraordinary growth in their sense of personal responsibility, and The Primary Intelligence Scrappers’ Scholarship. This award is given to exceptional “scrappers” - fighters who refuse to give up, even in the face of incredible odds, and use grit and determination while pursuing their goals and dreams.
I will be forever grateful for my Devereux team who continued to believe in me even when I did not believe in myself, and continued to help me along my journey of recovery and self-discovery. They helped me get to this place in my life today, and helped me to recognize that I have many positive qualities and attributes that I can build on, and an identity outside of my mental illness. I can attribute my successes to the amazing staff that supported my journey of self-discovery: my therapists Jen, Jess, and Molly. My time at Devereux has taught me that it is never too late to get help, and that hope is never lost.
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